Foreword Online

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Busting Millenial Myths

Posted by Stephanie Kubas on 4/8/14 11:00 PM
Topics: college retail, millennials, Marketing to Students

The following excerpt is from an article by Natasha D. Smith, Senior Editor, published on Direct Marketing News. Smith discusses four widely-held stereotypes that apply to your store's customer base, and how this reputedly capricious generation can be shaped into becoming some of your best and most loyal customers. Find out why sincerity matters more than the sales pitch to this estimated 86 million potential customers, and then check out the full article here.

There's a major demographic shift happening in the United States. Accounting for nearly $1.3 trillion dollars annually in consumer spending, according to the Boston Consulting Group, millennials are demanding the attention of marketers across multiple industries.

Norty Cohen, founder and CEO of digital ad firm Moosylvania, says the challenge for marketers is to bust past the myths about millennials and make true—potentially lucrative—connections. “Every part of a brand's personality needs to come across as being genuine, real, and connected to the same things that millennials are interested in,” Cohen explains.

“This is a generation that grew up digitally savvy with a constant slew of messages thrown at them. So there's no singular message that's going to connect with them as they multitask on multiple screens.”

Cohen says although there's no cookie-cutter method for marketing to millennials, dispelling some common myths will produce campaigns that resonate with this generation. Here, the digital strategist dispels four millennial marketing myths.

Myth: Millennials purchase on a whim.

The facts: There's no doubt this generation of young adults is dealing with some hard financial realities. Millennials are more burdened by financial hardships than the two previous generations—with higher levels of student loan debt, perpetually inflated unemployment rates, and lower levels of personal wealth. With so much financial pressure, millennials tend to research before they purchase.

Myth: Millennials are easy to win over.

The facts: A recent study on millennials by the Pew Research Center reports this generation is less trusting than older Americans—with just 19% saying that most people can be trusted, compared to 31% of Gen Xers and 40% of Baby Boomers. That more cautious attitude can also extend to brands. “They know when they're being marketed to and when they're being friended,” Cohen says. “Millennials will often stay loyal to brands that aren't necessarily the most famous but brands that connect to them. If you're able to cross the friendship line, the brand affinity is tremendous.”

Myth: Millennials are independent buyers.

The facts: Cohen says 85% of millennials in a Moosylvania nationwide survey of 1,000 people reported that they live with someone else—including parents, roommates, and partners, with 57% reporting that they tell friends about their purchases, and 44% admitting they like to show off what they've bought. Millennials remain digitally connected for support as they shop. He says marketers can build relationships through social media, blogs, how-to guides, and provide fun insights into a brand.

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